What R Commander Can do in R Without Coding–More Than You Would Think

by Karen Grace-Martin

I received a question recently about R Commander, a free R package.  R Commander is the powerhouse of our upcoming workshop R for SPSS Users.

R Commander overlays a menu-based interface to R, so just like SPSS or JMP, you can run analyses using menus.  Nice, huh?

The question was whether R Commander does everything R does, or just a small subset.

Unfortunately, R Commander can’t do everything R does. Not even close.

But it does a lot. More than just the basics.

So I thought I would show you some of the things R Commander can do entirely through menus–no programming required, just so you can see just how unbelievably useful it is.

Data Sets and Variables

Import data sets from other software:

  • SPSS
  • Stata
  • Excel
  • Minitab
  • Text
  • SAS Xport

Define Numerical Variables as categorical and label the values

Open the data sets that come with R packages

Merge Data Sets

Edit and show the data in a data spreadsheet

Personally, I think that if this was all R Commander did, it would be incredibly useful. These are the types of things I just cannot remember all the commands for, since I just don’t use R often enough.

Data Analysis

Yes, R Commander does many of the simple statistical tests you’d expect:

  • Chi-square tests
  • Paired and Independent Samples t-tests
  • Tests of Proportions
  • Common nonparametrics, like Friedman, Wilcoxon, and Kruskal-Wallis tests
  • One-way ANOVA and simple linear regression

What is surprising though, is how many higher-level statistics and models it runs:

  • Hierarchical and K-Means Cluster analysis (with 7 linkage methods and 4 options of distance measures)
  • Principal Components and Factor Analysis
  • Linear Regression (with model selection, influence statistics, and multicollinearity diagnostic options, among others)
  • Logistic regression for binary, ordinal, and multinomial responses
  • Generalized linear models, including Gamma and Poisson models

In other words–you can use R Commander to run in R most of the analyses that most researchers need.


A sample of the types of graphs R Commander creates in R without you having to write any code:

  • QQ Plots
  • Scatter plots
  • Histograms
  • Box Plots
  • Bar Charts

The nice part is that it does not only do simple versions of these plots.  You can, for example, add regression lines to a scatter plot or run histograms by a grouping factor.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }


Can R-Commander run the multiple correspondence analysis?


Karen Grace-Martin

I highly doubt it. Correspondence analysis is pretty high-level stuff.



Hi, I was wondering if R Commander happened to have a plugin for complex sampling analysis. For example, in SPSS you can choose analyze-complex samples-prepare for analysis-and specify the strata, cluster, and weight and then conduct analyses (desciptives, regression analysis…)
Thank you for your attention.


Karen Grace-Martin

I don’t think so. Complex sample analysis is pretty high level stuff.


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